Saturday, June 21, 2014

2014-2015 Season: NBC Comedy

NBC, who has decided to abandon its Thursday night comedy block after a memorable era, sure doesn't seem to have many great comedies in the pipeline this season. Last year, I was interested in all six of NBC's picks, but this time around only two out of seven are striking my fancy... and my feelings for either of those aren't particularly strong. There's a decent bit of variety in these series, though, so hopefully NBC is able to get lucky with some viewers... only one of last year's series is returning (though, technically, Undateable has not yet been cancelled). However, the lack of information NBC has out there is a bit problematic... it may not be intentional, but they seem to be particularly secretive about the settings of the comedies this season... I think revealing the geography is helpful in attracting viewers, especially initially. 

Red titles I'm not interested in. Green titles I'm going to try out. "Who" covers actors, writers, creators, etc. "Where" covers the location of the series. "What" describes the basics of the premise.

First, the fall premieres:

A to Z
Who? Ben Feldman (Fred on Drop Dead Diva), Cristin Milioti (How I Met Your Mother), Henry Zebrowski (you might not be familiar with him from The Wolf of Wall Street, but I know him from college), Katey Sagal (Married with Children), Lenora Crichlow (Annie on Being Human)
Where? not sure, but I'm getting a West Coast vibe.
What? She’s a lawyer, he’s a free spirit, and it’s being pimped as a reverse Dharma & Greg.
My Thoughts: This is How I Met Your Mother again, but this time you know who the couple is from the beginning. Andrew is Ted, and Katey Sagal is Bob Saget's voice... which means many will be hearing Futurama's Leela narrating the show. I just can't convince myself this would be worth my time.

Marry Me
Who? Ken Marino (Ron on Party Down), Casey Wilson (SNL, Penny on Happy Endings), Sarah Wright (Jane on 7th Heaven), Tim Meadows (SNL)
Where? It has a casual look, I'm thinking California?
What? A couple has been together for six years, and just as the guy is about to pop the question, the girl jumps all over him for not committing to her yet. And, yet again, based on a true story... of the main actress and one of the executive producers.
My Thoughts: It's an unimpressive premise, and I rolled my eyes more than a couple of times while watching the preview. I don't think it'll work as a series, either... this is movie material. 

Bad Judge
Who? Kate Walsh (Nicki on The Drew Carey Show, Dr. Addison Montgomery on Grey's Anatomy and Private Practice)
Where? Los Angeles
What? An unorthodox judge is a hardcore partier who plays in a band. When she imprisons a couple, their eight-year-old son is left in a group home, where he's bullied. She becomes a mentor to the lad, and may become a foster guardian as well.
My Thoughts: I can't handle irresponsible adults, so this series has the potential to make me very rage-y, which I like to avoid. 

And, the mid-season debuts:

Mr. Robinson
Who? Craig Robinson (Nick on Hot Tub Time Machine, Darryl on The Office), Jean Smart (Charlene on Designing Women, Martha on 24), Amandla Stenberg (Rue on The Hunger Games)
Where? not really sure... somewhere with a music scene, probably.
What? A rocker must also work as a substitute middle school teacher to make ends meet. He winds up taking teaching music seriously, though he’s unorthodox and faces the wrath of a no-nonsense principal while trying to catch the eye of the English teacher.
My Thoughts: Bleh. I'm an arts person and this isn't even appealing. Of course, my deep passion for Mr. Holland's Opus might keep me from loving this uninteresting rehash as well.

Mission Control
Who? Krysten Ritter (Chloe on Apt. 23), Malcolm Barrett (Lem on Better Off Ted), Jonathan Slavin (Phil on Better Off Ted, Albie on Union Square)
Where? 1960s, possibly Florida or Texas for the space program.
What? A female aerospace engineer for NASA deals with the fact that she’s in a man’s world.
My Thoughts: I couldn't believe Lem was in this when I read the cast list, and then about fell over backwards when I saw Phil was in it, too! I'll give the pilot a go, simply to see their chemistry once again, but I kinda doubt this program is for me... I prefer my 1960s households to be more Bewitched, if that statement won't revoke my feminist card.[NBC canceled this project on 10/15/14]  

One Big Happy
Who? Nick Zano (Johnny on 2 Broke Girls, Vince on What I Like About You), Elisha Cuthbert (Alex on Happy Endings, Kim on 24), Brandon Smith (Nico on So Random! and Sonny with a Chance)
Where? not sure. I'd think New York would be a good place for this one.
What? Lifelong besties Lizzy and Luke are having a child together because neither has settled down. However, as soon as Lizzy finds out she’s pregnant, Luke announces a whirlwind marriage to an Englishwoman.
My Thoughts: It's a rather messy premise, and borders on "this is only a movie" material. I sighed and rolled my eyes and wanted to move on as I learned more about it, so that's what I'm doing. 

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Who? Ellie Kemper (Erin on The Office)
Where? New York City
What? A woman who has been part of a cult for fifteen years experiences real life alongside a struggling actor who makes a living dressing as a robot in Times Square.
My Thoughts: Yes, the concept for the show is hysterically ridiculous... but I want to give it a go. I really like "first-time-experience" situations on television, and although The Neighbors got boring, 3rd Rock from the Sun remains a favorite. Now, being in a cult isn't the same as being an alien, but I bet there are similarities!
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